GREELEY — Terry James Sanchez of Greeley was formally charged Tuesday afternoon with the sexual assault and murder of 78-year-old grandmother Mary Jane Meining of Platteville.
Charges against Sanchez, 42, who is described by his attorney as having profound “mental retardation,” include two counts of first-degree murder. One count accuses him of committing the murder after deliberation and the other of murdering Meining while committing another felony.
Sanchez, who may face the death penalty if convicted of murder, also is accused of sexually assaulting Meining, who was found April 8 with her throat cut in her country home.
Authorities say they believe Sanchez broke into the Meining’s home on the 19000 block of Weld County Road 251/2 to steal jewelry to sell for drugs. Her husband of 57 years, Don, was not home at the time.
A preliminary hearing will be held in the Sanchez case in early August.
“We really commend the sheriff’s department for hanging in there,” said one neighbor, who wished to remain unnamed out of respect for the family. “We all feel that way.”
All court documents related to the case, including the autopsy and the arrest warrant, were ordered sealed Friday by Judge Roger Klein, who also imposed a gag order on attorneys, police and the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.
Jenn Ooton can be reached at 303-684-5295, or by e-mail at email@example.com.